What is Vapor Phase Reflow?
In the Surface Mount manufacturing process components are placed onto solder paste with a placement machine. Once the board is done being assembled the solder must be melted so there is an solid electrical joint between the surface mount component and the board. To do this the solder paste must be melted onto the board.
Traditionally the reflow process has been done with Convection Reflow machines that have five to seven zones. Each circuit board design is unique and therefore have a unique temperature profile. To figure this profile out a board must be destroyed through the thermal profiling process. It is very difficult to manage the heat when there are larger components with larger thermal mass and the smaller sensitive components that do not require as much heat to get soldered.
Tin Whisker mitigation
A Major Benefit of Vapor Phase Reflow is the mitigation of Tin Whiskers while reflowing boards with RoHS solder. Because the condensation of the liquid in the Vapor Phase directly transfers heat the solder aneles better with solder that is lead free.
There is even a white-paper available from IPC that shows the mitigation of tin whiskers in the Vapor Phase Reflow Process. To access this white-paper click here. Also for our blog post on Tin Whisker Mitigation click here.